NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After playing its last five matches on the road Tennessee State will return to Kean Hall on Saturday for a match-up with SIU Edwardsville.
TSU last took the floor on Wednesday, dropping its contest with cross-town rival Belmont, 3-0. Freshman Arijana Anderson finished with 10 kills to lead Tennessee State’s offensive attack. The Tigers attack was directed by senior setter Erika Moss, who finished with 23 assists. Junior Ileanushka Maldonado finished with a team high 13 digs.
The visiting Cougars come into the match following a five set loss to Western Division leading Eastern Illinois. Three SIUE attackers finished with 14 or more kills in the match (Kristen Torre 15, Taylor Held 14, Cori Harris 14). Harris (14 kills and 15 digs) and Mallory Mangun (43 assists and 12 digs) finished with double-doubles for the Cougars.
With the OVC regular season slate wrapping up the Tigers sit in the eighth and final play-off spot. In order to guarantee a spot in next week’s OVC tournament Tennessee State will need to win Saturday. With a win the Tigers would leapfrog SIUE into the seventh seed.
To do that TSU will look to ignite its offensive attack, led by junior leader Naomi Wells. Coming into tomorrow’s match the Huntsville, Ala. native leads the OVC in both kills and points per set.
As a team the Tigers are averaging the sixth best kills per set among conference members with 12.60 per frame.
A big reason for the offense’s success this season has been senior and two-time All-OVC setter Erika Moss. The Fort Wayne, Ind. native ranks third in the conference in assists per set, averaging 10.25. Tennessee State as a whole is averaging 11.95 helpers per frame which ranks fifth in the Ohio Valley.
SIUE boasts one of the best defensive units in the conference. The Cougars hold the top spot in the OVC in terms of digs per set with 18.04. Junior Chelsea Colclasure is the team leader in the category for SIUE with a pace of 5.43 digs per stanza.
The Cougars are also limiting opponents to a hitting percentage of .187 the second lowest in the conference.
Offensively SIUE is led by a senior and freshman combo. Freshman setter Mallory Mangun ranks seventh in the conference in assists averaging 9.55 helpers per set. On the other end of many of Mangun’s passes has been senior Kelsey Augustine, who ranks 10th in the OVC for hitting percentage (.268).
The two teams will take the floor on Saturday, with first serve slated for noon. Prior to the contest Tennessee State will honor senior Erika Moss and redshirt junior Naomi Wells as a part of the Tennessee State's senior day festivities.